History and Debate of Environmental ProtectionThe environmental movement is a movement that pushes for the conservation of natural resources and the passing of legislation that promotes environmentally friendly behavior. Those who support the movement advocate sustainable management of resources as well as taking responsibility for the welfare of the environment through public policy and personal participation in efforts to preserve the earth and its resources.
This movement can be traced back the 19th century when protectionists such as John Muir wanted to set aside land for its own sake. In order to do so, he founded the Sierra Club, one of the largest environmental groups in the United States. He also founded Yellowstone Park, the world's first ever national park. Around this time, Gifford Pinchot also proposed managing natural resources for human use. Thoreau, a well-known poet, also was very concerned about environmental protection and wrote the poem Walden about the wildlife that he saw from his cabin.
Varying Environmental MovementsThere are several primary foci in the realm of the environmental movement. The conservation movement seeks to protect natural areas for hunting, fishing and trapping. Environmental conservation is another process that involves pollution control, reforestation and recycling. The Ecology movement is a newer movement and involves analysis and improvement of the interactions of humans with the earth and its resources. The anti-nuclear movement is a relatively new movement in environmentalism that involves the prohibition of nuclear technology on the grounds that it causes damage to plants and animals on the earth.
Environmental reactivism is a term that refers to a staunch opposition to technology, such as harmful pesticides and water additives. Adding fluoride to the water system, for example, can lead to problems in fish populations. The NIMBY movement, which stands for Not in My Back Yard, is one that illustrates the public outcry against potentially harmful plants and centers being installed in neighborhoods.
Environmentalism has quickly become a concern on the community level. Many churches and local groups now have programs to support environmental issues. They may collect recyclables for donation or they may even volunteer to spend a weekend picking trash out of local creeks and streams. Some groups also go door-to-door spreading information on greener ways of living and reducing one's consumption of valuable fuels and resources.
In the last several years, a form of environmentalism called radical environmentalism has arisen. This movement is based on activism and pushes for a change in government policy in an effort to change the way people live and consume resources in their daily lives. Radicals often cite religious reasons for their beliefs and suggest a reconsideration of policies as deep as capitalism and globalization.
Public Opinion on the Environmental Protection DebateThough the environmental movement has grown dramatically over the years, there are still many people opposed to this movement. One study reported that most critics are opposed to a greener society because they believe it is being approached in the wrong way. In fact, studies have concluded that the people who are most environmentally conscious are those who are more likely to travel across the ocean on large flights and buy foreign vehicles that require shipping. This often outweighs the efforts that they make to live a greener lifestyle.
There is much public concern for the well-being of the environment and many ways to approach the issue of environmental conservation and protection. Whether changes need to occur on the political level or with individual remains a matter of opinion and a source of much controversy.